Music therapy is applied by a qualified practitioner whereby music is used in a systematic manner to achieve therapeutic goals or purposes. These purposes or goals may include self awareness, social development, cognitive development and spiritual enhancement. Therefore, music therapy helps in the fulfillment of physical, psychological, communicative and social needs of the individuals. The future of music therapy is quite promising because the level of effectiveness gained in the therapeutic use of music is high.
Music therapy helps a lot in the growth of people of all backgrounds and abilities. It is very useful as a treatment to children with special needs and promotes progress in communication, physical, cognitive, daily and social life. In a hospital, music therapy is used to improve motor and neurological functioning or to relax patients, reduce pain and promote rehabilitation. Music therapy in a psychiatric facility is used by patients to identify and resolve conflicts, improve their self esteem, explore and express their emotions, practice how to solve problems, making or coping important decisions, improving inter personal skills, increased motivation and decreased inappropriate behavior. It helps geriatric clients to improve physical functions, improved social skills, and physical functions in areas like memory, reality awareness etc.
Music therapy utilizes music as a therapeutic stimulus to achieve non-musical goals. Some of the long terms goals of music therapy includes the following:
<b> Physical goals </b> such as improving motor functioning skills like coordination, muscle control, coordination of eye and hand, balance, locomotion, laterality and directionality. Increasing general stamina and endurance, improving functioning of sensory organs, decrease sensitivity of the sense organs, relieve in pain by distracting from pain and discomfort, stimulation of natural pain killers, improving autonomic nervous system response, stress reduction, improving identification of body part, improving physical speech skills.
<b>Cognitive goals </b>comprise of improved learning abilities such as memory, impulse control, recognize, learning, perception, improved communication, alertness, environmental awareness, integration experiences.
<b>Psychological goals</b> includes improved emotional awareness, expressing appropriate behavior, elevated mood, reduction in stress, trauma, fear of illness, enhanced self assessment and environment, improved motivation, increased impulse control, frustration control, improved decision making skills, problem solving skills, supporting a sense of hope, developing personal insight, promoting acceptance, healing and forgiveness, improving self direction and independence, promoting a sense of control over life, sense of accomplishment and promoting spiritual exploration.
<b>Social goals</b> fulfill needs such as establishing relationships, increasing social involvement, peer interaction, eye contact, increasing response to verbal and non verbal cues, maintaining and strengthening interpersonal skills and improving group behaviors.